NCAA champion swimmer Riley Gaines detailed the attack by trans activists that resulted in her being barricaded in a classroom for hours after she gave a speech at a San Francisco university.
Gaines has been outspoken in her advocacy for women, who she says should not have to compete against biological males in college athletics.
“I’m a former 12x All-American swimmer and have been speaking out after tying biological male Lia Thomas at the NCAA championships last year,” she wrote about the speech in an op-ed at Fox News.
Lia Thomas became famous after dominating women’s swimming last year, becoming “one of the most dominant college athletes in the country,” according to Sports Illustrated.
Competing as a man, Thomas previously was considered a middling competitor.
Gaines, appearing on the Outkick podcast, told Dan Dakich that the protestors at San Francisco State University, where she gave her speech, “banged on walls, they stomped on the floor, they screamed terrible, violent, awful things to both myself and the campus police who were there” – with her in the barricaded classroom, according to Fox News.
She said that the protesters who had her trapped were negotiating with the university over money they would be paid to allow Gaines to travel home safely.
“They claimed if I got paid by the university to be there, it’s only fair that they get paid if I get to make it home safely,” Gaines said.
Gaines clarified that she did not get paid to give the speech, saying that the belief that she was paid was a “misconception.”
In her op-ed, Gaines said she welcomed the opportunity to give a speech in front of people who disagreed with her.
“I knew there were going to be people in the room who did not share the same opinions as me. But this is something that excites me — not because I’m looking for controversy, but because it means I would have the opportunity to open eyes and change minds,” wrote Gaines.
And while the speech and the question-and-answer session went relatively well, with just some heckling, after the speech was over, things turned dangerous quickly.
Gaines said that protesters rushed the podium after the speech.
“I was physically assaulted by one person. I was struck twice, both times hitting my shoulder with the second strike grazing my face,” Gaines told CNN’s Natasha Chen. “The rest of the protestors just ambushed and cornered me before I was able to move out with the help of campus police.”
One undercover campus police officer helped Gaines get safely to a classroom where they were able to barricade themselves away from the protesters.
However, Gaines criticized campus police for failing to show up prior to the speech for a promised consultation about security for the event in case of such an occurrence as the one that subsequently happened.
Police were supposed to meet with Gaines an hour before the speech, but never showed up.
She said that the no-show made it difficult for her to know whether the undercover police officer who was trying to help her was an actual cop or just a protester who was trying to harm her.
“It just felt like the police weren’t doing their job adequately because they were terrified. They didn’t want to be accused of anything. They didn’t want to be assertive in any way that they could make it look like they were anything other than an ally to this [LGTBQ] community,” she told Outkick.
University President Lynn Mahoney released a letter after the story garnered national attention, mischaracterizing the protest as “peaceful”:
“I applaud the students, staff, and faculty,” wrote Mahoney, “who rallied quickly to host alternative inclusive events, protest peacefully, and provide one another with support at a difficult moment.”
Democrat Rep. Katie Porter, who represents a portion of southern California about 400 miles away from San Francisco, even claimed that Gaines was using the assault and near-hostage situation to “get likes and get clicks” on social media, according to Outkick.
But TV commentator Piers Morgan threw cold water on Porter’s argument.
“That’s not what she’s doing…All I’ve seen her do is stand up for women’s rights to fairness and equality. She actually competed against Lia Thomas and it was obviously unfair,” Morgan answered.